Tune into the voice of the community by checking out DeviantArt's Journal Portal. Join the conversation by browsing, adding faves, and leaving comments, or submit your own Journal to let your voice be heard.
It is with great pleasure we welcome BrianKesinger as a guest writer to the Today Page Editorial Team. Considering his authentic citizenship within the deviantART community, his thoughts and insights will be of great value to all aspiring artists, illustrators, writers and others involved in any creative endeavor. For over 18 years, Brian has worked for Walt Disney Studios on films like Big Hero 6, Winnie the Pooh, Tarzan, Tangled, Wreck It Ralph and Bolt. Brian is author and illustrator of his own octovictorian creation, the wildly popular Walking Your Octopus, featuring Otto and Victoria, about a young turn-of-the-century London lady of distinction and her pet octopus.
Take a moment and think about your favorite movie. Now imagine that movie without the main character, as you know them, in it. I think it is important to make a distinction between the plot of a story and the arc of your main character.
The plot is a series of events that result in a character going through an emotional arc. You can briefly define a character arc as how a character feels and acts at the beginning of the story versus how the feel and act in the end. In Charles Dicken's Christmas Carol (1843), Ebenezer Scrooge hates Christmas and at the end he loves it. That is an oversimplification of his arc. The plot is there in order to provide obstacles and choices to show the the audience who they are and what their attitude toward their situation is. A good plot keeps you interested in the story but a good character will make you want to rewatch the movie over and over again. I am personally a fan of movies that have very simple plots as those films leave much more room for character development.
One way to look at a story is a series of choices made in creating the main character. As a storyteller, the more time you put into your character, the easier it will be for you to make those choices for your character be truthful.
Truthfulness is talked about a lot when discussing character creation. Fictional characters are, of course, not real. They do not exist in the real world. They are made up. You must give them reality with relatable traits. Let’s say your main character is a farm hand. How does he feel about that? Does he enjoy the hard labor, or is he bored out of his mind? Let's choose the latter. Note that we are not talking about plot, just discussing character. Does this farm-boy get along with his parents? Let's add mystery by making him an orphan. So we now have the highly relatable story of a bored young man with a decision to make. Should he continue his duties on the farm or answer an inner calling to explore the rest of his world? We know this character. Some of us are this character. So when Luke Skywalker makes his choice, it rings true, because his character has already been established as someone we understand, someone who wants more out of life. We can all relate to his situation. His story will be a bit more exciting than most tales of fugitive farm-boys, but even Star Wars might have bored us had we not been pre-invested in such a relatable character by skilled storytellers.
As an illustrator, my job is to create believable characters. At Disney it is not uncommon for us to start drawing before a writer has even been hired to write a script. Animation and art are a visual media. A picture is worth a thousand words. Drawing your character is one of the best ways to kick off the generation of those words. It is all in the details. How your character dresses, what sort of hair they have, are they big or scrawny? All these questions can be answered and explored through the drawing process. When we work on our films it is common for the character designers and story artists to work at the same time because one department constantly informs the other.
I love this part of the process, as you draw your character and you explore all aspects of them and the ideas start to gel. You put one image next to another and suddenly a story starts to develop, to talk to you. It is very exciting. We had an interesting challenge in creating the character of Baymax for the up coming film Big Hero 6.
I asked Joe Mateo, head of story on the film to talk a little about the difficulties that arose when creating a character without traditional features.
We knew that Baymax was going to be a challenge given his limited amount of facial features to express an emotional range. It's amazing though, what you can achieve with those charming dot eyes combined with a subtle head tilt, a well timed blink, and body gestures. These things plus line delivery can be very effective in expressing different emotions. We're careful though how much emotions we want Baymax to show given that he is just a non sentient robot... or is he?”
— Joe Mateo, Head of story on Big Hero 6
On the film Frozen we were tasked with taking a fairy tale “princess movie” and putting a fresh spin on it. One way that we did that was by exploring the characters of Anna & Elsa and creating a believable relationship between the two of them. Paul Briggs, head of story on Frozen speaks more about that here.
One of the great things we had working for us was the tropes of princess films we had done in the past. Audiences already had an expectation we would deliver the familiar romantic love story... a romantic kiss from a prince/knight in shining armor would save the the day. Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck knew they wanted to deliver something fresh and different and took the idea from the original Snow Queen story that "an act of true love will thaw a frozen heart" and coupled that with a story about two sisters. The movie really started to focus more about family love than romantic love. The challenge was crafting two siblings that couldn't have that love between one another. We had Elsa, who was hiding a power that she thinks will hurt or kill her sister. So she lives in fear and is afraid to share her love towards her sister. We developed Anna as being fearless but she lives in a world where we she wants to give her love but it is never reciprocated by her sister. She holds onto that true love for her sister though and it's ultimately the thing that saves the day and protects and saves her sister. Anna makes the biggest choice in the movie which is she sacrifices her life to save her sister—an act of true love.”
— Paul Briggs, Head of story on Frozen
In creating your Lost Kids graphic novel what were some ways that you made your characters believable teenagers even though they are inhabiting a fantastical world?
It's all about really turning your characters into real people, people that you could walk past in the streets and that means tons of research and world building. For every character in the Lost Kids comics I have these extensive character sheets with dozens of questions ranging from their family background, their homes, where they grew up in, the environment around them, to their biggest fears, their hopes and dreams, their psyche, etc.
All that comes into play and you must know your characters better than yourselves, you really must ask the tough questions and come up with interesting answers. A kid growing up in Brooklyn, NY, will most definitely talk and behave very differently than a kid growing up in Orange County, CA. Do they come from a rich family, a blue-collar one, from poverty, where do they go to school, are they outgoing or shy, do they use slang, or perhaps they speak perfect English, are they popular or outcasts, what are their deepest secrets and so forth.
And the most interesting task I had to go through was actually finding a way of these very different kids that should not get along, get together for this adventure. Good storytelling comes from conflict and there is nothing more boring than seeing characters agreeing on paper or screen, you want them to duke it out, you want them to have completely different opinions about the stuff that matters so you can exploit different points of view on a given subject and let the audience choose sides.
Believable teenagers have very strong opinions and views of their world, I just made sure to get all that right even before writing a word of the script.
Can you talk a little about how your characters developed from random sketches to the storylines in your web comic?
I don't actually sketch randomly and home storylines come out, it's pretty much the opposite... I come up with story elements that I find interesting and work to develop a character that might fit into the scenario in a unique way. For example, in The Meek, I wanted to write a story about a girl who doesn't care much for societal pressures. She started out in sketches as several types of girl, but with the goal of a story in mind, eventually developed in the my character Angora who is introduced as not wearing clothes (that portrayal is pivotal to her essential nature). I don't think the character would have been quite as effective if I had just been drawing naked women, and then tried to mould a story around that visual.
For the new comic that I am making (and will be posting more art of to deviantArt as well), I'm doing something similar; trying to create a certain vision of the future and the people who live there. With the future in mind, I get to create characters that represent my hopes and expectations, vs just randomly hoping to strike gold. My general advice is always to give a context to your sketches, even if you don't ultimately use them... it will help your characters develop into living people who feel like they might really exist somewhere.
When creating your character Veloce Visrin, what were some of the choices you made in designing her look and outfit to help tell the reader what she is all about?
I've given Veloce outfits meant for show, as well as casual outfits for the story she is in. The more story-oriented decisions were made with her casual outfit. Naturally, her look should immediately convey her character, because insignificant details on how a character chooses to dress himself/herself are usually a good reflection of their values. I've kept her outfit casual and unimpressive,despite her being the main character, to match her preference for staying away from the spotlight and blending into the crowds. Her clothes are also kept loose fitting rather than skintight, her hair kept free and not diligently kept, giving her a more relaxed air. However, she did come from a respected/feared family, and a hint of the fact that she is supposed to be an upper-class lady still comes across through the halter top, which is the same top/dress featured in her other, more extravagant and impressive outfits, covered up under the guise of her hoodie and otherwise unassuming look.
Your character drawings are so expressive. What are some tips for drawing animal characters with such human emotions while still maintaining their animalistic anatomy?
Thank you! Foremost, I’d say it’s important to get to know the subject matter. Gathering some overarching observational knowledge about anatomy, gesture and expression is pretty vital to drawing convincing pictures of such things. It also applies to the ensuing Frankensteinian drawing experiments that I would recommend as a generally effective approach to designing characters that fall somewhere between human and animal (though I’d argue that distinction is mostly philosophical). Do a lot of sketching, in other words.
Human capacity for self-aware emotional complexities aside, it’d be difficult to mark a clear distinction between human and animal emotions. Among other mammals in particular, there’s quite a lot of overlap in the way we express basic things like fear, dejection and excitement, in fact. Whether human or wolf, a lowered head, fixed stare and curled lip is unmistakably aggressive. That sort of thing can certainly work to the artist’s advantage when drawing an animalistic character meant to emote in a relatable human fashion. Further appending the expression with the animal’s telltale posturing - raised hackles, pinned ears, bared fangs - can be mixed in to varying degrees of bestial and dramatic. The more minute facial features add a layer of human nuance and specificity - the smallest adjustment can put an entirely different spin on an expression. For the given example, downward angled “angry” eyebrows would be well in line with the straightforward appearance of aggression, but simply arching one of the brows higher than the other can turn it into an expression of calculated anger. Symmetrically high arching brows could make the expression more excited or crazed; furrowed brows could be used to convey a sort of consternated anger, and so forth.
Of course, species that don’t communicate in ways that are especially decipherable to humans and critters with physiognomies that don’t lend themselves well to forming human expressions can present design challenges that might require some careful finagling. To use a popular example, note the dramatically shortened heads of My Little Pony characters as compared to realistic equine heads. Much of the animal appearance of the face is sacrificed, clustering the features together into an alignment more closely resembling a (cartoon-like) human. This way, the expressions are eminently readable, never inadvertently shifting from cute to awkward. In other situations, preserving the animalistic mien might be the greater priority over rendering consistently appealing human expressions. If you ever find yourself trying to draw chagrin on an anteater, consider that in some cases, embracing a bit of the awkwardness might not be a bad thing. It can make for some defining, memorable characteristics.
My advice overall is to approach whatever abstracted combination of anatomies are at hand as an advantage rather than a limitation to building an expressive character. The human and animal aspects each bring a toolkit array of physical features, gestures, behaviors and idiosyncrasies to utilize and draw inspiration from - all the more resources with which the character may exude life and emotion, presence and personality.
What led you to pick Korea as the location for your fish out of water story of frankie*SNATCH? And how does that specific location inform what situations your character goes through?
When I initially came up with the concept for frankie*SNATCH back in 2001, I wanted to base it in a large, modern city in the Far East. At the time, Japan was experiencing a huge popularity boom (certainly within the target audience I was wanting to reach) and I wanted to avoid following that trend. After a little bit of research, Seoul seemed to contain the fast pace, bright lights, cosmopolitan scene I was looking for. In these early stages, a strong visual setting was all I was after, and Seoul fitted that need perfectly.
Frankie*SNATCH has always been a character-driven plot, and whilst the location had never been hugely influential as a whole, as the story developed darker, controversial issues, I still needed to make sure it was still appropriate. For example, a major theme of substance abuse within the story lead me to research the sort of healthcare and treatment available for those suffering with addictions, and how this sort of issue is perceived and handled by Korean society as a whole. This research directly impacted on how the character(s) confronting this issue would handle it, particularly from the societal angle. This idea of such an old-fashioned taboo against the backdrop of an otherwise modern, diverse city was something I found interesting, but it also made me realise the importance of making sure the characters were believable enough for them to address the issues presented to them with as little help from the outside as possible.
Brian has volunteered to answer any questions you might have in a series of video updates we will post soon, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for a shout-out from him.
Leave your questions for Brian in the comments below.
"Some people ask if Portfolio supports Literature, Film or Flash Animations. Unfortunately these formats are not yet supported, but we are working hard to make sure to support these media in the future with presentation formats designed specifically to them."
The conflict of good vs. evil is one that's universally known. Can good exist without evil? Can evil exist without good? Are they opposites, or one in the same? Is the battle between light vs. dark, order vs. chaos, Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader, or PC vs. Mac? deviantART and Wacom invite you to get your creative juices flowing and artistically interpret your version of bringing good vs. evil to life!
DeviantART and Wacom are proud to present the Intuos4 "Bring Your Vision to Life" contest. With the theme "Good vs. Evil", the contest is open to artists of all mediums anywhere in the world. The "Bring Your Vision to Life" contest challenges you to use your creative vision to show us your interpretation of the epic battle between good and evil. You have the chance to win a sleek new "Intuos4", cold hard cash, and tons of other great stuff!
Summon your artistic abilities, engage the theme "Good vs. Evil", and bring your vision to life. Your entry will be judged on its originality, creativity, and technique. You get a second chance if the community picks your entry as the best!
Also, please welcome Wacom to deviantART! Head on over to their Profile Page to check out the beautiful ads Wacom created to promote the new Intuos4, leave them a note welcoming them to the neighborhood, and connect with other Wacom users.
There are three prizes from the judges and one prize from the community!
In addition, each semi-finalist will receive a one-month subscription to deviantART!
See Official Rules for details
* depending on availability
Entry must be received by 11:59:59 PM PST on May 19, 2009 and be submitted to the Contest gallery on www.deviantart.com "click here."
Your work will be judged on the basis of creativity, originality, and technique.
First, second, and third prize winners will be selected by a judging panel consisting of Wacom worldwide staff including Wacom's Global Evangelist Manager, Wacom's Manager of Corporate Marketing for Europe, Middle East and Africa, as well as Wacom's Director of Marketing Communications for the Americas.
I can't remember the source, but a few years ago I read this famous author's account of how it felt to have his first book come out, and he mentioned buying a copy himself because he was afraid no one would take an interest. Now this is a guy who managed to get not only an agency but a publisher (which is a whole pile of people who were like yesplz), and he's still afraid readers won't care. I was like, 'whoa mind blown.'
But anyway, the fact is that we are all strangers on the Internet and, by default, there is no reason for you to read my stuff or vice-versa. If you went and stood in Times Square with copies of your latest story, how many people would give you more than a passing glance? And how many of those people would get to the end of your work, and how many of those would offer critical feedback?
And, if you were one of the passersby, whom would you stop for?
I had this long-ass spiel planned (and drafted, even), but honestly it all just boils down to respect.
Don't try to lord your cleverness over them, or expect them to automatically be as invested in your work as you are (did they spend twenty hours every week agonising over writing it? No they did not). Keep in mind that these are people with lives, and it's quite possible they have just as much of their own material to freak out over.
So how do you get them past that? By a) being a good writer and b) taking an interest in their lives.
Don't expect everything to fall into your lap. Communication goes both ways. I mean, how many times have you left a great critique that someone really appreciated and then did nothing with? It's happened to me more than once, and each successive time has soured me on bothering with more of that person's work. I still leave Goodreads reviews without expecting a pat on the head, so a well-done piece of work does outrank a 'wah wah this person was a jerk,' but unless you are 100% sure that you are that talented genius, don't be a dick.
FYI, it's never a 100% thing.
Everyone learns how to write in school.
Everyone learns how to write for school in school.
You may be one of those lucky bastards with a creative writing elective or even majoring in the field, but that's the exception, not the rule.
Creative writing is its own discipline, and getting an A in English class has little to do with it. I don't get how so many people equate being okay at writing essays or reading analysis with writing stories, but yeah. Stop doing that.
Yes, you can translate skills from one side to the other, and being able to analyse what you're reading is always important, but respect the fact that creative writing is as much an art form as drawing, and that if holding a pencil doesn't make you a master of drawing, being able to type words isn't going to toss creative writing into your lap, either.
Aside from this, you need to want to improve. I mentioned 'being a good writer' above, so it's even tied into respecting your audience, but if you really care about this being a thing that defines you, you have to be willing to do your own research. No excuses. Learn to use Google. Listen to good advice even if it feels like a slap on the bum.
Your words don't define you as a person, okay? Me telling you that your story is flawed shouldn't make you feel bad, it should make you want to do better. There's nothing wrong with caring about your work, but there is something wrong with treating every word of criticism like a stab wound. And with thinking that you're hopeless, the fact that you weren't a child genius is going to screw you over, you can never be awesome, blah blah blah.
(I want my writing to be perfect so it reflects well on me. Why? Because my ego is the size of a fucking mountain.)
You're not ink on paper. You're a person. Words are your medium of choice to showcase yourself, your ideas, and/or your views. There's no way it's going to be perfect from the beginning, and when someone tells you where you've gone wrong, pay close attention. Not because they're somehow better than you, but because wanting to be the best you can be means hunting down all your weaknesses.
Get your chin up and make your writing as awesome as your self.
Round #02 1200 points give away, winners announcedScroll down for the winners <3< you may join both
More points to give away <3
10x100 points to 10 lucky deviants
2x100 points to 2 random deviants I choose that commented here <3
What you have to do is:
Fave this journal so I know you're in!
Good luck! I will pick the 10 winners (100 each) with random.org and 2 myself, 2x100 ) = 12 winners :3
Deadline: 7th January '13 same as my other points give away journal: http://fav.me/d5qdo8q < you may join both of course!
Much love from my piggies!
I want to thank Garficar for his donation of 200 points! <3
And also I want to say thank you for all the nice comments for Booboo
I'm sorry that I can't reply to every comment, but I do read them all
okay so this is my first fanfic so don't be too harsh on me. but either way, I hope you like it.
(f/c) favorite color, (y/n) your name, (h/l) hair length ,(h/c) hair color
It was a normal day for you but you couldn't shake this feeling that you were getting watched but you shake it off because you knew your overprotective dad would freak out about it. So right after you did you took a shower, you put on a white tank top,(f/c) sleeveless hoodie, headphones, light blue ripped-up jeans, and black and(f/c) converse. You had your (h/l), (h/c) down and straight but messy so your dad won't freak out ;to think you don't do it for a boy. Right after you ate breakfast, you skateboard to school before you got tackled by your best friend, Isaiah. He was like a brother to you and had mostly everything in common with him, but you dad thinks he's the 'bad influence'. Isaiah screamed right in your ear
"(Y/N)!!!!!! DID YOU SEE THE NEWS?!"
you shake your head"No......why? what did you do this time?!"
"The Daniels just died last night from-"
"Jeff the Killer I know" you interrupted getting annoyed.
You didn't hate the killer but he was a giant problem for your dad, the sheriff of your town. He's the reason you have cops watching you every second in your life.So right after you finished talking about the news, Isaiah walked but you skateboard right next him to school. You looked all sad and when Isaiah saw it, he stopped you and grabbed your shoulders
"What's with you? You don't look happy at all but scared....Is it because of JEF-"
"No, it just something bothering me. that's all" you said
"OH, well.... what's wrong?!"he said all worried.
"I just...I fell like I'm getting watched" you sighed.
Isaiah rolled his eyes and said" (y/n) you always watched by cops, your dad, and by cameras everywhere. So...don't be sad, show that smile of yours " he said trying to put a smile on your face.
"Yeah you're right, thanks " you said, smiling going to school.
I saw (y/n) walking with that boy again. Isaiah, what a stupid name to have but I can't kill him with him always with (y/n) there. I want her to see me but not like this and what bothers me the most about her is her dad.
'God I hate her dad'
When I saw her beautiful smile she has, it made me smile even more than ever. When she left around corner, I decided to check out her house. So, I went to her window and a good thing her dad wasn't home. I unlocked her window and got in and never saw any sign of anyone there.
'Perfect' I looked around her room and saw no sign of being girly.
'what I girl' I thought.
So after messing with her stuff, I sat on her bed but heard no squeaking. usually I hear squeaking all the time when killing but thank god this one doesn't. I looked up at the ceiling and thought about (y/n) and what she's doing. I was calm until I heard the front door open and found out it was her dad
'oh shit!' I thought and jumped out the window and hid for 5 minutes to see he came back to get something in his hands, the house keys. I was laughing so loud and I didn't noticed him coming my way
.......to be continued..........